Personal style can always morph according to changes in taste and environmental demands such as the workplace or when trying to make sure people feel or don't feel a certain way around you or about you, a season of life, budget or exposure to new style possibilities. But, within this flexible framework are a few principles to help guide you.
Guideline #1. Dress for your body type and coloring. This is the single, most important thing you can think about when selecting clothes. Fashions change from season to season and not all of the new trends will look good on you. It is easy to search the internet and find out what will look best on your build and what colors will be most fetching on you. Make the most of your best assets and be disciplined about not buying the latest trends if they are not best for you.
Guideline #2. Dress circumspectly. Ie, dress modestly. Guys, this applies to you too. If you are well muscled and wear tight, thin shirts we know why. Great character will always win over great biceps.
Case and point, I know a good looking guy that dresses with great propriety because he "does not want to distract people" by showing too many details of the body and wants people to focus on his eyes and speech. What's not respectable about that? By showing too much of yourself you may inspire admiration but you may inspire critiques and distraction. Choose your effect. You have one.
And ladies, you are 'the only one of its' kind in the world.' When you dress immodestly it has effects, few of which are positive. It A. Clearly tells the world what kind of attention you are after, whether you really are or not B. May accentuate the positives but may also accentuate the negatives of your physique C. Rarely inspires the most pure or complimentary thoughts in people.....and may not help gain you friends among other women and wives and D. Doesn't make you look as classy as you are.
Now, it is not that you should wear an oversize burlap bag and no makeup. Goodness, it could be argued that some faces would benefit from a little more makeup. I'm simply encouraging you to dress in a way that is culturally appropriate. You will be respected for it.
Dressing tastefully isn't just a socially beneficial construct, at the core it is usually a matter of the heart. What are you looking for from other people... and why? Most women want to feel attractive, that's normal. It is how we fill and direct these desires that is pivotal.
You are beautiful because you are you. As the Declaration of Independence says "...they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable rights..." as it speaks of rights for all people, all people, you included, are also endowed with value, attractiveness and purposes that is far more important than the human shell containing you. Remember your value and attractiveness aside from validation from others which will come and go. Your real value remains, it was put there. Put on kindness, gentleness and strength for a look and presence that will "wow" and search to see the value in other people.
Style hmmmmmm........... what is it? Who has it? What defines it? What is yours? How should you style yourself? What impact does your style have on your life? How much should you be concerned with your style, your image? How much should you spend on it? These are not questions that can be empirically proven and taught as absolutes. Style is deeply personal and deeply subjective. As it should be. It is an art. You know good style when you see it, whether or not you know exactly why it is good.
In the words of Coco Channel, "Fashion fades, only style remains the same."
In the words of Ralph Lauren, "Fashion is not necessarily about labels. Its not about brands. It's about something else that comes from within you."
In the words of Miuccia Prada, "What you wear is how you present yourself to the world, especially today when human contacts go so fast. Fashion is instant language."
There are a myriad of answers to the questions above. I am a firm believer that your personal style should not be forced or imitate someone else's. You are unique and so should your style be. Style is about feeling your best and giving you an optimal platform with which to interact with the world. That will look different ways on different people on different days.
Style alone will not make or break you, but for every action there is a reaction as Sir Isaac Newton taught us. You are more than what you wear and whatever eye catching, 1999 reminiscent, avant guarde or indescript ensemble you don, it is the heart and life of the person it encloses that will animate it one way or another. People might be impressed by your brands or your look, but it is your heart and attitude that will make a lasting impact for better or worse.
So, as you are selecting the day's garments, the unspoken words which you will wear and thus describe yourself to the world, clothe yourself also with compassion, kindness, humility, gentleness, patience, with strength, dignity, and right thinking. Clothes might open the door but character will be invited to stay.